Otto Lasch

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General Otto Lasch, defender of Königsberg; 1948, as a matter of routine, his Russian captors convicted him – after a short show trial – to 25 years labor camp and sent him to Vorkuta Gulag (Arbeitslager Workuta). At the end of October 1955 he finally returend home to his family in the Federal Republic of Germany.

Otto Lasch (b. 25 June 1893 in Pleß, Upper Silesia, Province of Silesia, Kingdom of Prussia, German Empire; d. 29 April 1971 in Bonn-Bad Godesberg, West Germany) was a German officer of the Prussian Army, the Imperial German Army, the Freikorps, the police (Polizei) and the Wehrmacht, finally General der Infanterie (General of the Infantry), last Fortress-Commandant (Festungskommandant) of Königsberg in East Prussia and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves in WWII.

Military Career

Oberst Lasch is honored in the Wehrmachtbericht for being the first military leader to enter Riga on 29 June 1941, freeing the occupied city.
General der Infanterie Otto Lasch.jpg
  • Entered Army Service (27 Mar 1913)
  • Fahnenjunker In the 2nd Jäger-Battalion or Jäger-Bataillon „Fürst Bismarck“ Nr. 2 (27 Mar 1913-02 Aug 1914)
  • Company-Leader in the 2nd Jäger-Battalion (02 Aug 1914-Nov 1914)
  • Wounded, in Lazarett (Nov 1914-1915)
  • Adjutant with the 2nd Jäger-Replacement-Battalion (1915)
  • Transfer to the Fliegertruppe (1915)
    • Observer with the 52nd Flying-Battalion
    • Observer with Flying-Battalion A 280
    • Adjutant of the Commander of Flying of the 19th Artillery
  • Freikorps „Himburg“/Grenzschutz „Ost“ (1919)
  • Transferred to Police Service (01 Jan 1920)
  • With the Police in Lyck (01 Jan 1920-1924)
  • With the Police Administration in Magdeburg (1924-1927)
  • At the Police School in Sensburg (1927-1934)
  • Chief Intelligence Officer (Ic) with the State-Police-Inspection Breslau (1934-15 Oct 1935)
  • Transferred to Army Service (15 Oct 1935)
  • With the Staff of the 45th Infantry-Regiment (15 Oct 1935-01 Oct 1936)
  • Commander of III. Battalion of the 3rd Infantry-Regiment (01 Oct 1936-26 Oct 1939)
  • Commander of the 43rd Infantry-Regiment (26 Oct 1939-12 Sep 1942)
  • Führer-Reserve (12 Sep 1942-27 Sep 1942)
  • Commander of the 217th Infantry-Division (27 Sep 1942-00 Oct 1943)
  • Commander of the 349th Infantry-Division (20 Nov 1933-01 Sep 1944)
  • Commanding General of LXIV. Army-Corps (01 Sep 1944-01 Nov 1944)
  • Commanding General (Kommandierender General) of the replacement troops I. Army-Corps and Commander in Military-District 1 (09 Nov 1949-09 Apr 1945)
  • At the same time, Fortress-Commandant Königsberg, East Prussia (28 Jan 1945-09 Apr 1945)
    • The defence of Königsberg under General of Infantry Otto Lasch consisted of four complete divisions and a colourful mixture of battle groups that included Volkssturm, Naval and Police units, Hitler Youth, Technical Emergency units and the fire brigade. They had hardly any ammunition and, apart from the ancient forts, there were no defensive installations. So once more the Volkssturm were set to digging. The Schwalbenberg Labour Battalion from Pillau was also there. The Volkssturm men were conveyed on a goods train and carts to Königsberg. On the 7th April the news spread that the city was now completely surrounded. On the 8th April the Schwalbenberg Labour Battalion was issued ith machine guns, carbines and Panzerfausts. Kroll also received a weapon. Punctually at 2100 hours a breakthrough via Ratshof towards Fischerhausen was to be effected to clear a road for the removal of the civilian population. This attack had been proposed to Gauleiter Koch by the Deputy Gauleiter Ferdinand Großherr, as he could see that there was no longer any future in Königsberg. General Lasch had agreed to this proposal, as did General Müller, the former commander of the 4th Army and present commander of the armed forces in the Samland and Königsberg, who also wanted to get whole units to the west. [...] Gauleiter Koch flew with a small staff out of surrounded Königsberg on the 31st January to Heiligenbeil, and then on to Neutief on the Frische Nehrung lagoon, where a command bunker had already been set up for him. [...] General Müller allowed only the evacuation of the civilian population, for which the Volkssturm would provide flank protection, but Fortress Königsberg was to be defended to the last round.[1]
  • In Soviet captivity (09 Apr 1945-08 Oct 1955)


General der Infanterie Otto Lasch returns home and arrives at Lager Friedland (de), October 1955
  • Fahnenjunker / Officer Candidate (27 March 1913)
  • Fähnrich / Officer Cadet (22 March 1914)
  • Leutnant / 2nd Lieutenant (7 August 1914)
  • Oberleutnant / 1st Lieutenant (22 March 1918)
  • Polizei-Oberleutnant (1 January 1920)
  • Polizei-Hauptmann / Police Captain (1 April 1921)
  • Polizei-Major (6 November 1933)
  • Major (15 October 1935)
  • Oberstleutnant / Lieutenant Colonel (1 January 1937)
  • Oberst / Colonel (1 December 1939)
  • Generalmajor (1 August 1942)
  • Generalleutnant (1 April 1943)
  • General der Infanterie (9 November 1944 with rank seniority from 1 November 1944)

Awards and decorations


Further reading

  • Franz Thomas: Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945, Band 1: A–K (in German), Biblio-Verlag, Osnabrück 1998, ISBN 978-3-7648-2299-6


  1. Egbert Kieser: Prussian Apocalypse – The Fall of Danzig 1945, 2012
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Thomas 1998, p. 13.